The World Health Organization (WHO) wants Pakistan to increase COVID-19 testing among students to know its exact prevalence. The measure, as it said, is necessary for educational institutions to prepare for the second wave of coronavirus.
Islamabad-based experts in the WHO said that student sampling showed a stable positivity rate (less than two percent), but some districts reported more cases.
They noted that the sampling ratio in educational institutes has gone down gradually, which is not a good sign, keeping the prospects of the second wave in view.
But the ratio of sampling from educational institutions is gradually decreasing, which is not recommended. The testing must be increased to know the prevalence among students to keep the incidence at a lower level and prevent the second wave.
The experts mentioned that only 1,500 to 2,000 tests per day for the whole Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) province are not enough and should be doubled. They remarked that the machines at Khyber Medical University are exhausted, and their capacity for conducting tests has been reduced.
Since the resumption of schools on September 15, KP has collected 34,964 samples from students, teachers, and staff members, of which 360 tested positive for coronavirus, 29,015 negative, and the results of 5,589 are awaited.
A total of 2,026 tests were conducted last week with a positivity rate of 1.22 percent, the health department said.
Health experts in KP believe that the government should increase testing, especially in areas where the number of COVID-19 cases is on the surge.
However, the provincial health officials say that the decision to increase or decrease the number of tests is made after reviewing the province’s situation every week.
They noted that the relevant authorities have already been asked to scale up testing in schools with more infections.
We have tasked the high-risk districts to collect samples in line with the positivity of cases among the schools.
So far, the province has reported 38,367 COVID-19 cases with virus-related 1,264 deaths. 19 new cases and 45 recoveries were reported during the last 24 hours.